December 19, 2009, 8:29 am
If you‚Äôre like me, you became fully aware of free and open source software only gradually, rather than suddenly and all at once. In my case, the process was somewhat schizophrenic, because I was personally involved, through my clients, in some of the evolutionary steps of FOSS itself, and only realized in retrospect how they fit into the whole picture.
Over the past few months, I‚Äôve been reading several books on the early days of FOSS (I hope to review them later), each based upon extensive interviews with those that made FOSS happen. That‚Äôs been especially revealing, because in recent years I‚Äôve gotten to know many of the same individuals, and didn‚Äôt always appreciate the roles that they had played in the early days of FOSS.
Recently, I tried to put all of this together, and more, into a single article that could serve as an introduction for people that might have an incomplete knowledge of FOSS, or might not fully appreciate all of its many dimensions. While no single article could ever hope to fully capture such a complex topic, perhaps the concise overview that I‚Äôve put together can fill in some of the blanks for people who have only a general idea of what FOSS is all about. And hopefully it will also provide the incentive for them to want to learn more (I‚Äôve provided a brief bibliography at the end for that purpose).